The role remains focused on the needs of the child at all times and is aware that the needs of the child are paramount. The roles and responsibilities very according to the needs of the family and the recommendations of the social worker, other professionals and as recommended by the assessment team at Orchard House. Family Support Workers are asked to carry out support in addition to a planned piece of work with a number of families. This can involve encouraging, teaching, modelling and support the parents in a number of specific tasks, such as bathing, clothing and feeding the children appropriately. Playing with children, giving them appropriate stimulation, love and attention.
The primary role of the family support worker is the care and support of children and parents when the parents might be experiencing difficulties for a variety of reasons. Many of the parents that we support and assess at Orchard House have not experienced good parenting themselves. Many are care leavers or explicitly express the fact that they should have been removed from the care of their parents during childhood. As a result of the experiences that they have had, parents often do not have a good internal model of what it is to be a parent. The role of FSW is not to undertake the tasks of the parents, but rather to support parents in their role and if necessary show them how things can be done. Such intensive levels of support/help may be required by the parents until they are able to do things adequately on their own.